Viewpoint: Amid challenging times, Sibley remains strong

Sibley's Innovation Hub opened in 2014, providing a space for staff to brainstorm ways to improve the hospital. (photo courtesy of Sibley Memorial Hospital)

By Richard O. Davis

For more than 127 years, Sibley has been here caring for the health and well-being of our neighbors and the community at large. Now, as a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, we are expanding our legacy of clinical excellence and providing local access to the nation’s leading experts in medicine. Plus, we’ve made significant investments to ensure that we remain a leading provider of world-class health care for District residents and beyond.

I am especially proud of what we have accomplished in the last five years since joining Johns Hopkins Medicine. We’ve opened a new state-of-the-art hospital with two entire floors exclusively dedicated to women’s and infants’ services. We’ve built a brand-new Emergency Department and implemented a “Fast Track” system with a 30-minute commitment, meaning patients wait no more than 30 minutes from the time they enter the Emergency Department’s door to the time they see a caregiver. Our Emergency Department’s patient satisfaction score of 97 percent puts it in the top 3 percent in the nation. And having welcomed the new Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley is currently participating in 60 potentially life-saving clinical trials.

Sibley is a strong and viable organization. Our growing patient volumes show that we continue to meet the health care needs of a diverse and expanding community. In the past year, Sibley had the most growth in patient volume among all adult acute hospitals in D.C., and we are expanding clinical programs that benefit our community and our patients:

■ In June, we saw the highest number of births in a single month in Sibley’s history, with 351 babies born. Overall, we saw a 6 percent increase in the number of obstetric patients.
■ Medical oncology patient volumes have doubled in the past five years, and these increases are a direct result of the investments that Sibley has made in our oncology programs.
■ Our new patient tower — with private rooms and large-screen TVs — is getting high marks from our patients and visitors, resulting in a large increase in patient experience scores. In fact, 91 percent of our patients say they’d recommend Sibley to others.
■ Sibley’s Institute for Bone and Joint Health is ranked among the top 100 programs in the nation for hip replacement. Our new orthopaedic unit, including a large rehabilitation clinic, further advances Sibley’s highly respected program.
■ Sibley is certified as having a Primary Stroke Center with advanced certification from the Joint Commission, American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.
■ Sibley has the first dedicated Innovation Hub in a community hospital in the nation.

We continue to be a regional and national leader in patient safety, reducing hospital readmission rates and hospital-acquired infections. Our devoted staff members take justifiable pride in their many accomplishments that help make Sibley such an exemplary place of hope and healing.

As you may have read in The Washington Post’s July 22 article, Sibley is currently experiencing a modest budget shortfall. I want to assure you, however, that we are thriving, growing and financially strong. Nationwide, the healthcare industry is facing challenging times, and Sibley is no different. Declining reimbursements, increasing costs for needed medications and medical supplies, and uncertainty regarding health care policy at the federal level all make it increasingly difficult for hospitals to thrive. Amid these challenges, Sibley — like virtually every other U.S. hospital — must become more efficient and implement best practices to continuously improve patient care while reducing unnecessary costs. We have implemented a number of actions to close the budget gap. But this is our bottom line:

■ Sibley is financially strong with a goal of being the most innovative community hospital in the U.S.
■ There are no reductions in programs or service delivery.
■ We remain committed to providing the same high-quality, safe care to our patients and their families that they have come to expect.

We will continue to be a leader and community asset for the next 127 years as we have been for the past 127 years. And we will continue to fulfill our mission to deliver excellence and compassionate care — every person, every time. As your community hospital, we want you to take pride in knowing that you and your family have access to best-in-class health care close to home.

After all, we are your Sibley!

Richard O. Davis is president and CEO of Sibley Memorial Hospital, which is part of Johns Hopkins Medicine.